MACKINAW — There are games in each and every season where the teams playing each other are so even that the team that has the ball last that will probably come away with the victory.
That was the case Friday night when Marquette Academy and Deer Creek-Mackinaw bumped heads at Jim McDonald Field.
In a game in which each team had troubles stopping the other, it was a 63-yard touchdown run by the Chiefs’ Lucas Blumeyer with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner in Dee-Mack’s 40-36 triumph.
“When we were looking for someone to fill the Week 3 spot because our conference had lost a team to 8-man, Marquette truly fit the bill. This was pretty much like playing an HOIC game really ... smash-mouth football.”— Dee-Mack football coach Cody Myers
Marquette (2-1), which had taken a 36-32 lead with 4:42 to play on an Alex Graham to Tom Durdan 45-yard pitch-and-catch, then had four straight incompletions on its final possession, and the hosts were able to run out the clock.
“That was a heck of a game, a good game,” said MA head coach Tom Jobst. “It was going to come down to who had the ball last tonight, and (Dee-Mack) was that team. I liked the fact that we kept coming back, and I think both teams showed themselves very well tonight.
“I’m proud of our kids’ efforts. Now we just have to get healthy and get back at it next week.”
The Crusaders scored on the first possession of the game on a 12-yard dash by Durdan and added the two-point conversion. Dee-Mack (2-1) answered on its first try on a 2-yard run by Brent Denniston and conversion run by Blumeyer and took a 16-8 lead after a Denniston 11-yard run with 7:45 left in the second.
Marquette drove to the Dee-Mack 3 before losing the ball on downs, but the Chiefs had a bad snap on the first play and were tackled in the end zone for a safety.
The Cru then scored with 48 seconds remaining before halftime on a 6-yard run from Pete McGrath to lead 18-16.
Dee-Mack scored on a 12-yard run by Denniston to start the third, but Marquette countered with a Graham 1-yard sneak and the game was tied at 24-all heading to the fourth.
A short scoring run by Jurnee Reed gave MA a 30-24 lead early in the fourth, but Dee-Mack countered with six-yard run from Tyce Albritton to hold a 32-30 advantage with 7:34 to go.
Dee-Mack outgained Marquette for the game in yards from scrimmage, 377-309.
Graham finished 8-for-16 for 165 yards, while McGrath (13 carries, 57 yards), Durdan (11-43), and Reed (11-41) paced the ground game for the Crusaders.
Blumeyer led the Chiefs with 134 yards on six carries, while Denniston posted 131 yards on 28 tries.
“After what we’ve been through, everybody, this was a great win for our program,” said Dee-Mack coach Cody Myers, whose club was 0-4 in the spring and 2-7 in the fall of 2019. “There is a great football tradition here, but the last few years have been tough. Tonight, this was Dee-Mack football. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s what we do. These kids have really put in the work, and they are starting to see that pay off.
“Coach Jobst is a class act, and Marquette and their players are as well. When we were looking for someone to fill the Week 3 spot because our conference had lost a team to 8-man, Marquette truly fit the bill. This was pretty much like playing an HOIC game really ... smash-mouth football.”
Both teams are scheduled back in action next Friday at 7 p.m. with Marquette traveling to take on another HOIC school in Heyworth, while Dee-Mack hosts league Large Division foe El Paso-Gridley.